Last Thursday, a new controversy in the world of Apple jumped out. Apparently, some iPad Pro units were reaching users with a slight curvature that according to The Verge publication, Apple considered “normal” and acceptable within its quality standards.
Well, a 9to5Mac reader wrote an email to Tim Cook and then received a reply from Dan Riccio , senior vice president of hardware engineering. Let’s take a closer look at this affair with the new information that has emerged.
Riccio’s reply email can be read in the screenshot above. Here is the full text:
Before you shell out the email from Apple’s hardware SVP, there are two things to talk about. The first is that Apple is working on giving an official statement to the media about this issue. The second is that Riccio mentions that it would be ready throughout yesterday. However, hours have passed without any media echoing a statement from Apple.
We will probably see him over the weekend or on Monday itself, despite the holidays. Apple will not want this issue to drag on too long.
One last detail: the email has two different styles of typography. It starts with a Helvetica Neue and ends with what looks like Times New Roman. This usually happens when you copy and paste a text from one site to another, probably as part of the internal response process that Riccio did. I wouldn’t give it any more importance .
Two different interpretations
The first thing that comes to mind is that we are dealing with a typical case of media-induced controversy based on information that can be interpreted in two ways . Riccio claims that Apple has reduced the chassis tolerance of the iPad Pro from previous generations. 0.4 millimeters for a device measuring between 24 and 28 centimeters sounds reasonable.
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From this point of view, yes, some iPad Pro units can display slight curvatures within this range of 0.4 mm or less. This does not mean that all units have it. But this does not pose a problem for device performance, so it can be considered normal.
Please note that The Verge has never published an official Apple statement . No quotes, no quotation marks. Nor do they tell us how they got the answer they claim comes from the company stating that it is “normal” for an iPad Pro to exhibit this defect. Nor do we know the exact question the media asked to receive it.
The Verge probably asked his question thinking about the cases in which an iPad Pro showed a curvature well above the 400 microns mentioned by Riccio in the email. And Apple answered in a generic way , talking about manufacturing processes without giving too many details. Then The Verge interpreted it in the juiciest way possible, stating that all the curvatures presented by the iPad Pro are considered normal by Apple.
Apple has not yet made an official statement on this issue, it is expected to do so in the coming days
Actually, the thing is simple. Apple has a tolerance level on this very specific thing of up to 400 microns. Any deviation above that level should not have passed the quality control , but a small portion of units made it to the customers. If the number had been significant, the problem would have seen the light of day much earlier and there would have been other options on the table to tackle it.
Remember that we are talking about a product whose sales level is measured in the hundreds of thousands of units (a million maybe?). Any defect that slips through the quality controls has the potential to affect at least tens of units.
Easy solution: refund or exchange
Riccio claims that if an iPad Pro encounters a curvature of less than 400 microns, the device should operate normally . Photos that are circulating on social networks with a curvature greater than this limit will probably prevent the device from functioning properly. Would the iPad Pro’s keyboard fit properly? How would it stay closed? And what about holding its magnets?
This is the umpteenth case in which an explanation seeks the interpretation that generates the most controversy and clicks among the public
In a perfect world, there would be no manufacturing problems. It is hard to believe that a user who encounters these types of defects would not go to the store and request a return or an exchange immediately . Apple itself does not consider this to be normal. Furthermore, if you are in the return period you do not need to give any explanation for a refund.
We will have to wait for an official statement from Apple on this matter, as Riccio has promised. But what is clear is that we are facing a case of controversy induced by a medium, which chooses to interpret information in an interested manner.